I’m in my nostalgic mode again. My husband has finished vacuuming and steam-mopping the hardwood floor, and left me with nothing much to do but to wash the dishes and do the laundry, which I have both finished, so now I wallow in boredom while he’s in the PC방 playing Sudden Attack on-line until his eyes sore… boohoo… T.T
At times like this, I wish the Philippines were just a step away.
At times like this, I miss…
~~~ MY FAMILY ~~~
I am one of the many Filipinos who grew up in an extended family. My cousins were my playmates. My grandma and two of my single uncles have lived with us since I was a little girl. Every Christmas or New Year becomes a family reunion. Relatives who live near us and even those who come from other cities are usually invited to birthdays and other special occasions. My sister and I had spent many summer vacations in my Daddy’s hometown when we were kids, so we are both close to our paternal family, too.
It was always fun being around aunties who are more like ‘gal friends’…
An uncle who thinks a “substitute” (teacher) is the same as a “prostitute”…
Another uncle who is more likely to marry his St. Bernard…
Oh, and of course, there’s also my eldest uncle who gives everybody a sloppy kiss, men not exempted, when he’s had too much too drink…
Cousins who don’t envy…
and with whom I have shared the most wonderful moments of my childhood…
A grandma whose hobby is washing every family member’s clothes in the house…
Little Dei-dei, my nephew, who used to wake me up every morning with his incessant knocking…
Most of all, I miss my two BFF’s, my mom…
and my sister.
~~~ MY FRIENDS ~~~
They’re loony, but I love ’em… uhm, well, I suppose that’s why I love them.
It’s hard to find true friends abroad, but back home, I know I have friends who will always remember me…
and remain “my true friends”.
~~~ MY (FORMER) COLLEAGUES ~~~
No matter how busy I was in the Philippines, I always had time to unwind after a tiring day at work by hanging out with my colleagues, that’s why most of them have become my friends. Perhaps, it was because I was single, and I didn’t have to worry about coming home late. Here in Korea, since I have a husband waiting for me, I head home straight after work.
I’ve noticed that most people in Korea are in a hurry to go home after work, and they don’t go out very often with people they work with. There are get-togethers once in a while, and men go out to drink with their workmates more often than women do. I miss the team buildings, company excursions and field trips in the Philippines, which I think, are not very common among companies here in Korea.
~~~ MY (FORMER) STUDENTS ~~~
I have always enjoyed teaching IN THE PHILIPPINES, even though most of my students, Filipinos and foreigners alike, loved to debate and complained a lot about homework, which is rather normal in high school.
Schools in the Philippines are teeming with activities and programs. Once in a while, students get a break from the four corners of the classroom, and they get to show what else they can do besides “studying”. My Korean students in the hagwon tell me they have school festivals in Korea, too, but not parties and plays. I miss working with my talented team of actors and staff in Westfields International School.
No matter how naughty and headstrong my Korean students in ESL (English as a Second Language) were, their naughtiness could make me laugh, and I somehow managed to accept the stubbornness that seems natural to most Koreans their age. In time, they have learned to respect, obey and appreciate the patience and love a teacher has shown them.
There is something about teaching students in Korea that drains all your energy and patience. It’s not just the language barrier between the students and the foreign teacher, it’s the way students here perceive “studying”. The way they behave towards their Korean teacher is quite different from how they are with their foreign teacher, especially in hagwons (academies). How I wish hagwon students here in Korea could behave more like Korean students in my previous ESL classes.
~~~ FOOD ~~~
Although there are a lot of Korean food that make my mouth water, there is never a day I don’t crave Filipino food: My mom’s Sinigang and Filipino-style baked macaroni, Sizzling Sisig, Chicken Adobo, Pancit Palabok, Manggang Hilaw with Bagoong… now I’m hungry again! T.T
Even my husband misses Filipino (street) food.
Though my Mommy taught me some of her recipes, I can’t cook “magically” the way she does.
There are a hundred things I miss about the Philippines now that I live in another country, but to say what they all are would take a hundred hours. Although I have adjusted to life in Korea, Pinas will always be my home. Life may not be a paradise in my homeland, but it’s a life I always dream of coming back to, a land of simple and yet blissful smiles.
What do you miss the most when you are away from home?
- My Wedding Dress Made of Pina – A Filipino Signature Fabric Made of Pineapple (ichoosehappynow.com)
- It’s Not Always about Politics (ourtowntustin.com)
- ‘Bahay Kubo’-inspired designs for MRBs (manilastandardtoday.com)
- Call the Philippines ‘Pinas’ instead (globalnation.inquirer.net)